Ayurvedic Nutrition and Power Foods to Increase Vitality
Date Posted:30 June 2012
Youthfulness, energy, good health, and vitality are attributes most people would say they want more of in their lives. Choosing the right foods for your dosha-type is one of the key concepts in Ayurvedic nutrition. Ayurvedic food covers a wide array, including shad rasa (the six tastes), spices, cooking, dosha-specific choices, and so much more.
You can unlock your inner fountain of youth with Ayurvedic foods, and even better, Ayurvedic power foods. While this list is not complete, it will give you a great idea as to what Ayurveda demands of food and the food groups prized in Ayurveda for being power foods.
Grains and Cereal
Quinoa is packed with magnesium, riboflavin, and iron, and is a great source of long-lasting protein, more so than any other grain recommended in Ayurvedic nutrition. You will want to be sure and rinse this grain well to ensure you rid it of its bitter taste.
In India, amaranth is referred to as the "king's grain" as it is renowned for its healthy properties. It is exceptionally high in protein and high in vitamins, phosphorus, iron, calcium, magnesium, and zinc.
Millet is high in fibre, but gluten-free, so it is easy on the body and easily digestible as well. Millet, just like quinoa and amaranth, is high in protein, vitamins, magnesium, and phosphorus, as well as phytic acid, which has been shown to be beneficial in preventing cancer.
You should always avoid white rice, as it has been stripped and polished of anything healthy or good about it. Brown rice, on the other hand, still contains fibre, manganese, selenium, and magnesium.
One of the ideal breakfast foods in Ayurvedic nutrition, oatmeal is teaming with protein, calcium, iron, and vitamins, especially the B Complex vitamins. Oatmeal also contains soluble fibre, which leaves you feeling full for longer, making it the perfect meal to start the day. You can also flavor it with dried or fresh seasonal fruits, raisins, or yogurt to add additional health benefits.
Legumes and Pulses
Tofu is a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids and protein and also has the ability to lower bad cholesterol levels. Overuse of tofu is not recommended, however, and it should be eaten in moderation.
Pinto beans contain plenty of folates, which have been shown to protect the cardiovascular system and prevent birth defects in newborn babies. If beans present a digestive problem for you, be sure to soak the beans in water, discard that water and fill your pot with fresh water before cooking. Soaking beans in water washes off the saponins, which prevent the beans from being easily digested and cause excessive gas in the bowels.
If black beans or pinto beans are still a problem for you even after rinsing, you may want to try mung beans instead. Mung beans are easily digestible and require less energy to digest them, so there is more energy left for you. They are also well known for their cleansing, restorative, and healing properties. Mung beans are also highly renowned for being able to balance the doshas, which makes them the perfect detox food.
Lentils have shown that they may contain a property that helps prevent breast cancer, as well as being high in heart-healthy fibre and isoflavones. You can eat lentils on their own with a little ghee or your favourite spices added for flavour or use them in soups or stews.
Fruits and Vegetables
Apples are not only delicious, but they contain flavonoids and are great protection for the cardiovascular system. Stewed apples are a wonderful treat to turn to instead of cake or cookies when you have a craving for something sweet.
Avocados contain oleic acid, which is great for increasing good cholesterol and lowering bad cholesterol. They are also a rich source of fatty acids and are a good source of fibre. Try avocados mixed with yogurt for a tasty dip or dressing instead of unhealthy and fat-loaded dips and dressings.
Ayurvedic nutrition was well ahead of Western medicine in recognizing the life-giving properties of blueberries and their incredible antioxidant properties. This is one of the best Ayurvedic foods to include in your diet as often as possible.
Cantaloupe contains two essential antioxidants, vitamin A and vitamin C. You can cut it in cubes, freeze it, and then add it to smoothies for a delicious icy treat in the summer or eat it fresh.
Raisins are rich in fibre and iron, but low in calories. Eat them as a treat between meals or add them to hot or cold cereals for a healthy and nutritious meal. Raisins also pacify the doshas and increase sattva.
Figs are one of the best sources of vitamin B and a great source of potassium and fibre. Figs can help you maintain healthy blood pressure levels as well as aid in weight loss.
Carrots are one of the richest sources of vitamin A available and should be eaten as much and as often as possible. Beta-carotene helps promote good lung health and enhance vision.
Leafy, green vegetables, such as kale and spinach, are a great source of vitamins A, C, and K. You should include a wide variety of leafy green vegetables in your daily diet.
While these are just some of the Ayurvedic foods recommended in Ayurvedic nutrition, it is essential you avoid life-draining foods as well.